The 10 Best Above-Ground and In-Ground Solar Pool Cover Reels

As per Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing a swimming pool heater is $2,589, with a household range of $1,535 – $3,682. Low end heater units could come as cheap as $300, while high end ones may require you to shell out a whopping $4,984.

The above mentioned figures don’t include additional monthly heater costs ranging from $100 – $600. Factors that affect monthly heater expenses include: operational energy requirement, type of installed heater, and location.

To make sure you get the right heater that’s fit for your pool and your location’s climate, seek professional advice.

Solar pool covers as sound alternatives

It has to be noted that evaporation triggers 75% of the total heat loss in a swimming pool. By utilizing sunlight and acting as a barrier between air and pool water, solar pool covers are able to retain the warmness in it and prevent heat from escaping.

The best solar cover reels can save you up to 70% in pool heating costs. There are certain factors you should consider before purchasing one:

  • It should match or exceed your pool’s size – If your pool cover is short that it allows certain parts of your pool to be uncovered, certain amounts of heat will still get lost.


  • Hue – If you are after effectiveness than look, go for pool cover colors that are lighter (clearer). Darker colors aren’t the great in allowing sun rays to penetrate.


  • UV-stabilizing element – Without it, your cover is likely to suffer from accelerated depreciation.


  • Other factors – air bubbles which help sunlight enter faster, manual or automatic pool cover reels.

 Below are the more prominent variations of solar pool covers today:

  • Insulated vinyl cover

This type has vinyl sheets that are fortified with the presence of air pockets in between. Such pattern is effective in preventing escape of heat into the air.

  • Bubble wrap cover

More and more pool owners select this design because of its aesthetics. Comparable to bubble wraps in common television and home equipment packaging, bubbles traps heat and only allows little amounts to seep.

  • Straight line vinyl cover

This is usually seen floating on the surface of the pool. Such prevents water from evaporating, which in turn preserves the heat generated from the heater.

  • Liquid cover


This is the newest breakthrough in the pool cover market nowadays. Usually, a pool owner lets the liquid chemical dispenser to float in the middle of the pool. Then, it secretes non-poisonous, liquid pool chemical that acts like a protective barrier trapping solar energy.

Below are the 10 best solar pool cover reels for both above-ground and in-ground pools (in no particular order):


  1. Sun2Solar Stainless Steel Frame Solar Cover Reel W/ Large Turning Handle

Sun2Solar 16-Foot Wide Stainless Steel Solar Cover Deluxe Reel System


Type: In-Ground

This lengthy solar cover reel can cover pools up to 16-feet wide. Known for its durability, it also 20provides easy maneuvering – thanks to its oversized wheels. This lets you to easily roll and unroll the cover in every use.

With a reel tube that’s 3.5” and a clearance height of 18 inches, it permits convenient and quicker placement of solar cover. It’s also very easy to use because of its large turning handle. However, it may prove to be ineffective with covers over 12 mil (not recommended).


  • Frame made of stainless steel
  • Large turning handle
  • Oversized wheels
  • Quick set up


  • If any, it could be that the straps are slightly complicated to figure out.


  1. Swimming Pool Cover By Kokido Solaris

Type: Above-Ground

If you prefer a solar cover that directly attaches to your above-ground pool’s sides, then Kokido Solaris is the one for you. It can cover up to 18 feet of pool length.

Kokido boasts a “sturdy construction” of the reel which gives it utmost durability. And because the solar cover is rust-protected, it can really last long when properly maintained.

Lastly, the crank arm helps when rolling and unrolling the cover for a quicker process.


  • Anti-rust body
  • Can be attached directly on the pool sides (with or without railing)
  • Provides optimal heat retention and protection from debris
  • Tube set made from aluminum alloy


  • With passage of time and environmental conditions, the plastic parts can become weakened.


  1. Deluxe Low Profile In-Ground Pool Solar Cover Reel

GLI Pool Products Deluxe Low Profile In Ground Pool Solar Cover Reel - 12-16 Feet Wide

Type: In-Ground

This GLI pool product is specifically designed for ground pools that are 12-16 feet wide. Its base is triangular, which provides users optimum stability when rolling and unrolling.

This solar cover reel boasts a corrosion resistant aluminum frame that is heavy duty and resistant to rust. Its bearings possess a sturdy 3 inch tubing that’s top of the line in the market (up to 64% thicker than other brands).

The Deluxe Low Profile can be set up by a single person, thanks to its one hand-crank. All other vital installation parts are inclusive too (e.g., straps, solar blanket attachments, etc.).


  • Stable triangular base
  • Sturdy aluminum frame
  • Can be set up with ease by a single person


  • The wide solar blanket may be too much for a single person to roll/operate.


  1. 18’ Deluxe Above-Ground Solar Pool Cover Reel System by Doheny

 Doheny's Deluxe Above Ground Solar Pool Cover Reel System - up to 18-ft. pools

Type: Above-Ground

This is another above-ground solar pool cover than can be attached to the pool wall or deck. When the pool is in use, it can hinge away from it so as not to be a disturbance.

Its rotating wheel is large and handy enough to make swift cover rolls. Designed for pools that are 18’ wide or shorter, this cover reel functions well on both round and various shaped pools.


  • Directly hinges on the pool
  • Premium, heavy-duty material
  • Easy operation


  1. 20 Feet Wide, Powered Pool Solar Blanket Reel by Pool Boy

 Pool Boy II Powered Solar Blanket Reel - Up To 20 Feet Wide

Type: In-Ground

Built with automatic solar reel covers, a remote control that comes with the package lets you roll and unroll it with a button push.
Afraid of getting the handheld remote splashed? There’s no need for that. It is completely waterproof, and if ever you dropped it accidentally, it will float nonetheless.
And if you lost the physical remote, this blanket reel is now built with manual override capabilities.
In terms of power, this 20 feet wide cover can be well plugged with ease into any GFCI outlet (115V transformer with 40’ cable).
Heavy duty aluminum tubes and adjustable bases that are power coated make Pool Boy’s reel system. It also has several mount holes that allow easy adjustment.


  • Perfect for pools that are 20 x 40 feet.
  • Low voltage transformer
  • Convenient with handheld remote


  • Because it’s automatic, set up may prove to be longer than that of a manual cover.


  1. Leisure Living’s 21’ Wide Solar Cover Reel for Above Ground Swimming Pools

Above Ground Solar Cover Reel for Swimming Pool up to 21' Wide

If you’re looking for a solar cover reel that is lightweight and non-corrosive, without sacrificing frame strength and durability, go for this one.

This above-ground solar cover reel has a steering wheel styled handle, allowing a single person to set it up with ease. Made specifically for round pools that are 21’ wide or slightly less.

The materials used for this cover are light and gentle plastic, with hard aluminum reinforcing its tubes. This product also comes with 3x aluminum telescopic poles that are 3” in dia., together with all vital attachments.

Reel won’t be a hindrance in the pool experience, as its lift-and-swing design allows it to be pivoted away if someone will swim.


  • Lightweight but maintains sturdiness
  • Attachable to pool walls or deck
  • Lift-and-swing design


  1. 3A In Ground Pool Solar Reel by Rocky’s Reel Systems (20 Feet Wide)

If mobility and portability are your top concerns, this solar reel is attached to 2 inch castors to facilitate easy transport. To move it, simply drop the anchor bolts and reel in the cover. It has compelling lateral strength which staves off sags because of its 12-sided anodized tubing.

In terms of durability, it’s made of hard aluminum with an enamel finish that further hardens and solidifies it. It also has a 9.5-inch ground clearance from the tubing down, to avoid blundering.


  • Die-cast aluminum with enamel finish provides utmost durability
  • Adequate ground clearance prevents unnecessary hits on the tubing
  • Good maneuverability


  • With anchor bolts and screws in the package, installation might take a while.


  1. 16 Feet In Ground Swimming Pool Solar Cover Blanket Reel Manufactured by Aqua Splash

Aqua Splash 16 Ft. In Ground Swimming Pool Solar Cover Blanket Reel
This cover reel offers versatility. It can be placed stationary, mounted on the fence, or simply mobile because of its 3-way end design.
In terms of aesthetics, its mushroom color suits almost every pool color and decoration. Castor wheels can be well placed in its pre-drilled holes though it sold separately.
Convenient handles are present on both ends to facilitate easy rolling and unrolling of blanket. It’s made from corrosion-resistant, sturdy components. All essential hardware and attachments are all included in the package; best used for blankets that measure 8 – 12 mil.


  • 3-way design allows a variety of positions
  • Color adapts to the pool’s
  • Easy rolling through convenient handle


  • Aluminum plastic may be slowly chipped by frequent use and environmental factors.


  1. Solar Roller by Solar Factory

Solar Roller by Solar Factory

This roller has already sold more than 2,500 units and claims to roll in just 15 seconds. If extending your cover’s life is on top of your priorities, this solar roller does just that.

But how?

The patented Split-Cover System of Solar Factory starts at the middle of the pool. Because of such, there’s less tension off the cover and helps extend its life. This works best in pools of almost every shape, even on ones that have minimal deck space.

Also, the rollers are all but heavy. It weighs just under 30 lbs. The roller is well attached in the middle of the folded sheet instead of the pool deck.

With the help of the pool’s buoyant force, rolling becomes extremely easy.


  • Easy rolling with the help of pool’s buoyant force
  • Can function in both above-ground and in-ground pools
  • Extends cover life because of minimal strain exerted on it


  1. 21 Feet In Ground Stainless Steel Solar Cover Reel by ARKSEN

ARKSEN Stainless Steel Solar Cover Reel For Swimming Pools Up To 21' Feet Wide Inground
This is another solar cover reel that has wheels for easy mobility and transport. Made out of lightweight yet sturdy aluminum bar that’s corrosion-resistant.
It has an ergonomically shaped crank arm that facilitates easy unrolling and rolling of cover. This is best for in-ground pools that are 20’ x 40’ in length.
The best thing about it though is that it’s easy to assemble and store. The package includes the section tube set, manual, base, straps, and pole. To ensure that the cover is hinged well on the pool, many straps are present.


  • Heavy-duty wheels and tires provide mobility
  • Wheel crank has convenient handle for easy rolling and unrolling
  • Sturdy frame


  • Some users have reported that it isn’t as effective when used in pools that are 16’ feet wide or more.

The Wrap-Up

Before purchasing solar cover reels for your swimming pool, check the intention of the manufacturer first. Is it specifically made for in-ground or above-ground pools? Having a mismatch with the pool type and cover you have may affect the latter’s effectiveness.
Also, decide whether you need an unattached or mounted reel. Unattached reels (often with wheels) offer flexibility and mobility, but it may not be as sturdy as mounted ones. Meanwhile, mounted ones will require you to drill holes on your pool deck or wall.
Remember that such holes will become a permanent fixture on it. Are you willing to do that? On the other hand, an unattached reel may take up storage space when not in use.
All the above mentioned solar cover reel brands are great. It has particular strong points depending on your cover priority. But what you shouldn’t forget is to the check the quality and make of the reel’s materials. Can it really cover 20 feet wide pools for instance? Is it really made of premium aluminum or subpar ones?
Always check the label and packaging. Solar cover reels are great investments that save you substantial heating costs. High end ones are worth the investment because of added functionalities and implied durability.

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